Demonstrations Over Amendment to India’s Citizenship Law Sparks Internet Shutdown


On Dec. 18, protests break out in Mumbai, India after India’s Supreme Court postpones hearings against the Amendment to the 1955 citizenship act. As the protests swelled the government caused internet shutdown.

Hannah Smith, Editor in Chief

Last week the indian government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, passed an amendment to the 1955 Citizenship law. The new amendment gives illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians a road to citizenship. Many critics have pointed out, that the act leaves the out India’s muslim minority. 

“Critics say the Citizenship Amendment Act is the most overt example yet of discrimination against India’s Muslims in a string of actions taken by Modi since his party’s landslide reelection victory in May,” reports Emily Schmall and Sheikh Saaliq for the Associated Press.  “And a violation of the country’s secular constitution.” 

However, Modi Maintains that this is a humanitarian effort.  

After India’s supreme court postponed hearings to challenge the law it lead to unrest and protests throughout the nations. Demonstrations have broken out in several provinces and on many college campuses. 

“Hundreds chanted slogans outside New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University. Widely disseminated images of police charging unarmed students with sticks and tear gas at a protest at the school on Sunday supercharged opposition to the law,” reported Schmall an Saaliq. 

As opposition to the law and demonstrations grew the Indian government turned to shutting down the internet in certain provinces. A surprisingly undemocratic move for the largest democracy in the world. 

Mishi Choudhary, founder of, a legal advocacy group in New Delhi that has tracked India’s internet shutdowns since 2012, said, “Any time there is a sign of disturbance, that is the first tool in the toolbox. When maintenance of law and order is your priority, you are not thinking about free speech.” reported Jeffrey Gettleman, Vindu Goel and Maria Abi-Habib, for the new york times. 

Many official thorough out India cite the prevention of  mass spread of misinformations and rumors along with threats of violence as the reason for these internet shutdowns.